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Spare the rod | Scores of J'cans deported from US for flogging kids

Published:Wednesday | September 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris

Beating a child (corporal punishment) is considered a necessity by some Jamaican parents, but immigration attorney Joan Pinnock is warning that Jamaicans migrating to the United States will have to learn how to spare the rod, as this is one of the reasons for the deportation of several immigrants annually.

"Lots and lots of Jamaicans are being deported for beating their children," Pinnock told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Some of the torture that we go through in Jamaica as children of Jamaican parents, you come to the US and you do the same thing and your child walks into school and show a welt on the body; you know social workers are going to get involved, guidance counsellors are going to get involved, family services are going to get involved," explained the immigration attorney during an interview with our news team.

According to Pinnock, just last week she represented a Jamaican who had beaten his daughter.

"She (daughter) went to school with the welt on her body and the guidance counsellor took her into the office and they called the social worker," said Pinnock.

"You can be charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, which is a deportable offence," she explained.

Pinnock noted that urinating in public and walking around with a 'ganja spliff' are two other offences which Jamaicans commit out of ignorance at times, since they are so commonplace in Jamaica.

"Taking out your private parts and peeing in a corner, like we do here, is a deportable offence because it is showing your genitals in public and it is indecent exposure, so you can be arrested, convicted and deported," she said.


J'cans must be careful


Pinnock warned that Jamaicans need to be especially careful now that President Donald Trump has signed an executive order which places those who have been convicted at risk of being expeditiously deported.

"I find that a lot of our Jamaicans are now being picked up from their jobs, walking on the street, out of their homes for crimes that they committed back in the '80s and back in the '90s," she said.

"I've had probably about 25 to 30 new cases for deportation, because these people that I see now, their family members called me and they were picked up on their jobs, they were picked up in their homes," said Pinnock, who has been successful in returning three deported Jamaicans to the US as citizens.

The immigration attorney partnered with other lawyers and community leaders from the diaspora to launch the Jamaica Diaspora Immigration and Deportation Prevention Task Force in February to help Jamaicans living in the US navigate immigration laws, among other things.

The hotline number for the task force is 929-320-0955.

"We encourage people, if you are in crisis, which means that either you or your family member was picked up by ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), call the hotline and one of our attorneys will connect with you to try to see what they can do to get them out of deportation," said Pinnock.